Storing food on deck and in cabins

By | Category: Travel news

Silver Shadow

Who – or what – would you wish to share a cabin with if you were on a cruise? The answer wouldn’t be with boxes of food but that appears to be what some crew members had to do on board Silversea’s cruise ship Silver Shadow. Other containers of food were on deck.

I think it was CNN that first widely reported that inspectors from the US Centers for Disease Control’s Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) had been tipped off by a crew member and so they boarded the ship on the 17th of June. On board they found that fifteen trolleys of food from the ship’s galley had been moved to individual crew cabins or on deck to “avoid inspection.” CNN quoted Adriano Colonna, a pastry chef on the vessel, saying that a trolley full of salami and unrefrigerated blue cheese was stored in crew cabins. Colonna said food was hidden night after night to avoid health inspections.

Prior to CNN’s coverage of the story, a specialist cruise claims lawyer in Florida, Jim Walker, had posted this news on his website on the 15th of July. You can read the actual VSP report here (go to items 13 and 16) but the surprising thing is the tone. It is matter-of-fact, even bland, – rather than condemning. It reads as though the inspector had seen it all before. Item 19 of the report is even worse so I quote it verbatim.
“A variety of packaged, unpackaged, covered, uncovered, raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods were found stored on the deck, under and on beds of the galley crew cabins from 302 to 326.”
The inspectors discarded the contaminated food or poured liquid chlorine over it to render it unfit for human consumption.

What irks me is that I get the feeling from reading Jim Walker’s website that this may not be a solitary case. What also irks me is that there hasn’t been much publicity outside the US about this. Why wasn’t food stored properly? Are the kitchens too small, the storage areas insufficient or are the kitchen staff too uneducated to realise that this was a health issue? Did the cruise company itself know of these habits? Or the captain of the ship? That a member of the crew blew the whistle suggests that no-one took any notice of him if he reported it or that he didn’t feel that he could report it.

Silversea comes out of it with no credit since they have posted nothing about this on their website. There is just an explanation on their facebook page. What I should like to be assured of is that this is a one-off incident. I just have this sneaking suspicion it isn’t!

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